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fiction 1: opening of MAX WEBER in OKLAHOMA

She has no idea where he is.  But what troubles her more, she knows he doesn’t either.  Nor anybody else, not the nurse, not the doctor, who’d said only a week ago he found nothing unusual- a little bronchitis due to the stress of a recent lecture at the university, the sore throat forced down into the bronchial tubes- nothing to worry about.

It is June, 1920.  Marianne Weber sits in the litttle house in the Seestrasse at the edge of Schwabing in Munich and listens to feverish singing, snatches of conversation with absent colleagues, school friends, founders of the German nation long dead, disputations with god knows what demons, muffled behind the closed door where Max Weber lies.  Else Jaffé sits across the room in front of the window looking out onto the street, humid and still- what people in Oklahoma had called a weather-breeder- a thrush in the shrubbery incessantly calls.

The doctor closes his bag.  He has done all he can.

Frau Böhlau brings tea.

“He is suffering.”

Max Weber lets out an extended sigh.  “Yes, it is a crime.”

The sky has clouded over during the morning, Marianne, Else Jaffé standing near the door, paces the floor by his bed.  “I feel so helpless, nothing we can do.”

He calls out.  “Pray that it comes to an end.”

She lays a damp cloth on his forehead.

“Children, give it up.  It doesn’t help.”

Max Weber sings:  grabt mir ein Gräbelein auf grüner Heide.  Agitated, delirious.  “I want to see her.”

The nurse opens the bedroom door, pale, wrought, motions Marianne to come.  She enters, stands by the bed, thick medicinal atmosphere seems to inhibit sight.  Reaches down to place her cool, soft hand upon dank hair matted to his beaded forehead, as she had always done in the past in his interminable hours of suffering.

Angry eyes snap open.  “No!  Not her, god in heaven, send her out.”

A fly stumbling round him glimmers green and blue.

Else Jaffé enters the room.

read more (to pg. 3)
© philip kimball 2009